Weirder Science

“But you don’t understand!” they cry. “Global warming is different! It’s science!” Hector at Kiaran Lunch does a lot of global warming denialism, deftly deaf to the rigorous logic of those who promote it.

I still think Hector’s a good guy, though, and a smart one, even though he doesn’t see the obvious peril. Environmentalists constantly must fight such people–educate them, silence them if need be, and restrict their freedom–in order to save them.

For example, Obama’s Science Czar John Holdren was on the forefront of overpopulation. Had he, and fellow eco-warrior Paul Ehrlich, not forcibly sterilized undesirables, and controlled how and where they lived, people would be dying off by the trillions today.

The modest NASA genius James Hansen downplays his role in fighting off the Ice Age that nearly destroyed us in the ‘70s, so it’s perfectly understandable that he would suggest sending people who disagree with him to jail.

And let’s not forget the eco-warriors victory in forcing us to all buy new, more expensive, less durable refrigerators to save the ozone. Morons like you wouldn’t have done that on your own!

So. You’re welcome.

Sun, Sun, Sun, Here it–wait, where is it?

At least on a monthly basis, Mr. Dr. Helen posts some sort of solar “breakthrough”. Although unlikely to be any sort of general panacaea, what with the impending ice age and all that, solar could be useful in the sun belt (and is, in limited cases).

But I’m reminded of this classic USS Clueless post by Steven Den Beste. (It haunts him, people love this post so much. Also check out his takedown of other alternatives.)

From what I can see, there’s an actual physics question to be gotten around. Namely, just not enough energy hits a particular point on earth to generate adequate amounts of electricity, even at 100% efficiency. (Den Beste uses a 2,300 square kilometer coverage figure, assuming 100% efficiency, that would generate enough energy to cover California’s 1990s gas usage.)

My only real issue was this is that he seems to posit it as some grand engineering feat, where I see another possibility in the form of dividing that 2,300 sq km up into, say, ten million pieces. That works out to about 2500 square feet per portion, and you have some efficiency in generating the electricity where it’s used.

That is to say, if you can paper over people’s roofs or parts of their yards, the engineering, financial and distribution questions are less humongous. (The environmental issues would go away until the green-types started bitching about how the solar collectors were disposed of, and until they discovered a photosensitive microbe adversely impacted by these new devices.) A local approach could even give us implementations for transport and storage, which I think would benefit us as a whole. (Some people would doubtless end up with lemons.)

That’s assuming that we could get to the point where solar really was that efficient and cheap. Anyway, I end up amused by stories like this. Every month (at least), a new story. When does it–when does any of it–come to market?

Irony? Or Karma?

One of my pet formulations is that environmentalism (or ecology as it was drummed into me as a child) is a luxury. Poverty starves environmentalism like [some random fat celebrity] starves the other customers at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

To a man without shelter, a two-thousand year old redwood looks like a roof, some walls, maybe even a floor.

To a man without food, a spotted owl is a feast.

Now, one of the more obvious ramifications from environmental policies is poverty. Energy is more expensive because it’s too difficult to produce more of it, owing to various environmental restrictions, just for example. The Kyoto protocols would’ve cost us enormously even though, without them, we came closer to its goals than the nations that actually agreed to it, and those nations are dropping Kyoto like a hot potato in the face of serious economic problems.

Environmentalists are obsessed with our footprints. Not just our carbon footprints, but every resource we “consume” in our existence. This year’s Wall-E (a shoo-in for the animation Oscar) took as given the idea that consumerism would lead to the destruction of earth and our own near extinciton. But the lives led aboard the space station by the remaining humans didn’t really affect the earth, and I have to believe that most green-types would approve of that. (Although there was the curious issue of the space station making tons of trash, and no explanation of where the raw materials were coming from.)

Wealth is anathema to this crowd.

Their policies create poverty.

Poverty leads to resistance to their policies.

I just can’t figure out if that’s ironic or karmic.

It’s not a tax…it’s redemption!

I went out and bought some soda and some water.

The purchase price was $8.48.
The sales tax was $0.42.
The “California Redemption Value” was $1.80.

So, I paid 25% over the price of what I bought in taxes. This is the problem with “use-based taxes”. They look good on the surface, but they just turn into another source of revenue for the state, and even make the tax look righteous.

Even when it’s all…hokum.

What’s worse is that–according to what I’ve heard–the blue bins that the state collects the recycling in were basically formulated to stop the homeless from collecting and doing the recycling themselves. In other words, we took something that gave the least fortunate members of society a way to make money through honest labor and cost the taxpayers nothing–and turned it into something that the government does (and loses money at, at the city level).

All I’m really wondering, though, is what happens to that 0.42? Why isn’t that enough to do what needs to be done, rather than tripling it?

Why is it these clowns always have money for mansions, and never for roads?